The 10 Best Travel Deals in 2017

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Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Let’s see what’s new and exciting in 2017!

If you’re just getting started in miles and points hobby, these 10 deals are an excellent way to get Big Travel with Small Money.  For example, cheap award flights to Europe in coach or Business Class.  Or a 4th night free on paid hotel stays.

Best Travel Deals 2017

Emily and I Are Excited to Share Our Top 10 Best Travel Deals for 2017!

Here are the best travel deals for 2017!

Best Travel Deals 2017

Link:   Beginner’s Guide to Miles & Points

Link:   Hot Deals

Whether you’re new to miles & points or a veteran, prefer coach or Business Class travel, or just want to save moneythese deals offer something for everybody!

Before signing-up for any credit card deals, it’s important to consider your travel goals to decide which miles & points are best to collect for your trip!

1.   Friend or Loved One Flies With You for (Almost) Free With Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Link:   Earn the Companion Pass With Marriott or Starwood Points

The Southwest Companion Pass is still my favorite travel deal.

With the Southwest Companion Pass, a friend or family member can travel with you for almost free on paid and award tickets for up to 2 years!  Just pay taxes and fees for your companion’s flight!

And you can easily earn the Companion Pass right now because of the current sign-up bonuses on the 3 Southwest cards.  It’s possible to qualify for the Companion Pass by signing up for 2 of the Chase Southwest cards (1 personal and 1 small business) and meeting the minimum spending requirements!

Best Travel Deals 2017

Emily and I Think the Companion Pass Is the Best Deal in Travel! Team Member Keith Makes Use of His Frequently to Fly With His Wife!

You must earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year to get this amazing travel deal.  Just be sure tavoid these 3 common mistakes!

Keep in mind, it’s now tougher to be approved for most Chase cards if you’ve opened ~5+ cards from any bank (except these business cards) in the past 24 months.

Until March 31, 2017, it’s also possible to earn the Companion Pass using hotel points.  You can read about team member Harlan’s personal experience redeeming Marriott points for the Companion Pass, 120,000 Southwest points, and a 7-night hotel certificate!

2.   Two Nights at ANY Hyatt Hotel

Link:   Chase Hyatt

Link:   My Review of the Chase Hyatt

With the Chase Hyatt card, you’ll earn 2 free nights at ANY Hyatt hotel after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.

Emily and I have enjoyed terrific stays at Hyatt hotels like the Grand Hyatt KauaiGrand Hyatt MacauHyatt Regency MauiPark Hyatt Vendome Paris, Park Hyatt Sydney, and Park Hyatt Zurich.

You can use the 2 free night certificates at luxurious Hyatt hotels like the Park Hyatt New York.  Or at any of their all-inclusive resorts!

Best Travel Deals 2017

Use a Free Night From the Chase Hyatt Sign-Up Bonus to Stay at the Park Hyatt Sydney, Which Has Spectacular Views of the Sydney Opera House!

With this card, you’ll also earn 5,000 bonus Hyatt points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months of opening your account.

This card has a $75 annual fee, which is NOT waived the first year.  But many folks keep this card year after year because you get a free night at any category 1 to 4 Hyatt on your card anniversary.

3.   4th Hotel Night Free Perk With Citi Prestige

Link:   Citi Prestige® Card

Link:   My Review of the Citi Prestige

The Citi Prestige has an amazing perk, which can save you lots of money if you book paid hotel stays.

You’ll get the 4th night free on paid hotel stays when you book through the Citi Prestige concierge.

Note:   Beginning July 23, 2017, the 4th night free perk will refund the average cost of a 4-night stay, NOT including taxes.

Team member Keith used this perk to save more than $1,650 on hotel stays in 2016!  This easily offsets the card’s $450 annual fee!

Best Travel Deals 2017

The Savings With the Citi Prestige 4th Night Free Perk Can Really Add Up!

You can make this deal even better by stacking it with other discounts.  And it’s a great option for folks who book business travel and get reimbursed by an employer.

There’s no limit to the number of times you can use this perk.  And you’ll receive points, stay credits, and elite status perks at the hotel, just as you would if you booked directly!

Remember, you can also save on airfare with the Citi Prestige $250 annual airline fee credit or use your Citi ThankYou points at 1.6 cents each toward paid flights on American Airlines (or international partnersthrough July 23, 2017.  And golfers get 3 (or more) free rounds of golf per year through July 23, 2017!

4.   Get Big Travel With Starwood Points

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Link:   My Review of the Best-Ever AMEX Starwood Card Sign-Up Bonuses

Link:   How to Use Starwood Points

Starwood points are extremely valuable because there are LOTS of terrific ways to use them like:

Starwood hotels include:

Best Travel Deals 2017

Get the 5th Night Free at Starwood Hotels When You Book an Award Stays at Hotels Like the W Austin

Here are some of my favorite Starwood hotels in Europethe USthe Caribbean & MexicoAsia & Australia, and Central & South America.

You can stretch your Starwood points by booking a Nights & Flights package, which gets you one of these options:

Best Travel Deals 2017

Use Starwood Points to Book a Nights & Flights Package at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa

And now is a great time earn Starwood points with the limited time best ever sign-up bonuses!

With the personal AMEX Starwood card, you’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  And 10,000 more Starwood points for spending another $2,000 on purchases within the first 6 months.

And with the AMEX Starwood small business card, you’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  And 10,000 more Starwood points for spending another $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months.

I shared 7 example week-long vacations you can book using Cash & Points with the total 35,000 Starwood point sign-up bonus.  And 5 top Starwood hotels in Europe you can stay for free using points!

Note:   American Express only allows folks to get the sign-up bonus ONCE per person, per lifetime on ALL their cards.

5.   Fly to Brussels for Cheap and Then Explore Europe

Link:   How to Use AMEX, Citi, & Starwood Points for Cheap Award Flights to Europe

You can use Etihad miles to book a cheap award flight to Europe on Brussels Airlines.

A round-trip award flight from New York (JFK) to Brussels costs:

  • 21,972 Etihad miles in coach
  • 36,620 Etihad miles in Business Class

To compare, if you booked a round-trip flight to Europe using United Airlines miles (a Star Alliance partner), you’d pay:

  • 60,000 United Airlines miles in coach
  • 115,000 United Airlines miles in Business Class (on United Airlines)
  • 140,000 United Airlines miles in Business Class (on partner airlines)

And there are lots of ways to earn Etihad miles!  Etihad is a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou, AMEX Membership Rewards, and Starwood.

This is an incredible deal.  Even if your final destination is not Brussels, you can use the cheap award flight as a springboard to explore other parts of Europe!

Best Travel Deals 2017

Visiting Paris? You Can Save Lots of Miles Booking an Award Flight to Nearby Brussels!

Note:  With Brussels Airlines you must book a round-trip ticket.  You can NOT book individual one-ways.  And you must book your flight at least 14 days before your travel dates.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to finding available award seats on Brussels airlines.  But keep in mind, you’ll have to call Etihad to book this way.

6.   $300 Travel Credit Every Calendar Year With the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Travel Credit, Everything to Know

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

The most popular travel card in 2016 was the Chase Sapphire Reserve.  Besides earning my favorite flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points, the card also comes with a $300 annual credit for travel purchases.

The credit starts working as soon as you get the card and covers purchases like:

  • Airfare
  • Hotels & Motels (including Airbnb)
  • Timeshares
  • Campgrounds
  • Car rental agencies
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies
  • Discount travel sites
  • Passenger trains
  • Buses
  • Taxis (including Uber and Lyft)
  • Limousines
  • Ferries
  • Toll bridges & highways
  • Parking lots & garages
Best Travel Deals 2017

Use the Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Travel Credit for Your Next Flight Purchase!

You will receive a new $300 travel credit each calendar year.

In addition to the $300 travel credit, the Sapphire Reserve is a fantastic travel card because you can earn a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting minimum spending requirements.  That’s worth at least $750 in paid travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

And you also have the option to transfer the points you earn to terrific airline and hotel partners.

If you act quickly, it’s possible to earn a 100,000-point sign-up bonus when you apply for the Sapphire Reserve in-branch.

7.   Avoid Blackout Dates & Get 50% of Your AMEX Points Back for Flights With the Business Platinum

Link:   Get 50% of Your Points Back With AMEX Business Platinum

Link:   Best Way to Book JetBlue Business Class: AMEX Business Platinum Pay With Points 

Link:   The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

With the AMEX Business Platinum card, you’ll consistently get up to 2 cents per point when you book certain flights through the AMEX travel portal using Pay With Points.

You’ll get 50% of your points back for ANY Business or First Class ticket you purchase using Pay With Points.  I think this is the best way to book JetBlue Mint Business Class flights!

Best Travel Deals 2017

With the AMEX Business Platinum Card, You Can Use Pay With Points to Get an Especially Good Deal on JetBlue Mint Business Class Tickets

And you’ll get 50% back for coach tickets booked with Pay With Points on your selected airline.  You can read my post about why I chose Southwest!

Using Pay With Points gives folks a flexible option to book flights without blackout dates.  Plus, you’ll earn airline miles on your paid flight because it’s essentially the same as paying with cash.

And remember AMEX small business cards don’t appear on your personal credit report.  So they won’t count against you if you apply for Chase cards in the future.

8.   Save Miles With Short-Haul Alaska Airlines Award Flights

Link:   Alaska Airlines Award Chart

Link:   Cheaper Short-Haul Awards With Alaska Airlines’ New Award Chart!

Link:   Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card

Link:   Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card®

With Alaska Airlines’ new distance based award chart, the shortest one-way award flights (less than 700 miles) cost just 5,000 Alaska Airlines miles  

For example, a one-way flight between San Francisco and Portland costs 5,000 Alaska Airlines miles.  It’s also possible to book a one-way flight with a stopover for the same cost as a regular one-way flight, as long as the stopover doesn’t bump you into a higher distance tier.

This is a great deal for folks who collect Alaska Airlines miles or Virgin America points.  Remember, you can convert Virgin America points to Alaska Airlines miles at a 1 : 1.3 ratio

You can find good deals on longer distance award flights too!

Distance FlownOld Price of Award TicketNew Price of Award Ticket
Less than 700 miles (intra state)7,500 Alaska Airlines miles5,000 Alaska Airlines miles
Less than 700 miles 12,500 Alaska Airlines miles5,000 Alaska Airlines miles
701 to 1,400 miles12,500 Alaska Airlines miles7,500 Alaska Airlines miles
1,401 to 2,100 miles12,500 Alaska Airlines miles10,000 Alaska Airlines miles
More than 2,100 miles12,500 Alaska Airlines miles12,500 Alaska Airlines miles

If you need help finding the flight distance between any two cities, check out my post about how to quickly find flight distance & duration with Great Circle Mapper!

9.  Discounted Award Flights to Europe & Hawaii Using Singapore Airlines Miles

Link:  Deals on Award Flights in US (Including Hawaii) Using Starwood Points

Link:   Top 5 Cheap Ways to Get to Europe Using Miles and Points!

You can save miles on award flights to Europe or Hawaii by using Singapore Airlines miles to book award flights.

Singapore Airlines miles are easy to earn because they’re a partner of all 4 transferable points programs:

Starting March 23, 2017, Singapore Airlines award flights between New York and Frankfurt will cost:

  • 22,500 Singapore Airlines miles in coach
  • 65,000 Singapore Airlines miles in Business Class
  • 76,000 Singapore Airlines miles in First Class suites

Singapore Airlines recently announced the upcoming removal of the 15% online booking discount.  But you’ll no longer pay fuel surcharges!

Best Travel Deals 2017

Enjoy a Comfortable Bed, Amazing Food, and Terrific Service With Singapore Airlines First Class Suites on Your Way to Frankfurt

And if you’re traveling to Hawaii, consider using Singapore Airlines miles to book United Airlines award flights.  You’ll save 10,000 to 20,000 miles compared to booking directly with United Airlines miles!

Round-trip award flights from the US to Hawaii cost:

  • 35,000 Singapore Airlines miles in coach
  • 60,000 Singapore Airlines miles in Business Class

Booking directly through United Airlines would cost you:

  • 45,000 United Airlines Airlines miles in coach
  • 80,000 United Airlines miles in Business Class
Best Travel Deals 2017

Save Miles Flying to Hawaii By Using Singapore Airlines Miles to Book a United Airlines Award Flight!

Note:   You’ll have to call Singapore Airlines at 800-742-3333 to book this way.

10.   Round-Trip Flights to Ireland for 26,000 Points!

Link:   Sweet Spot: Fly to Ireland From 6 US Cities for Only 26,000 British Airways Avios Points Round-Trip!

Link:   Chase British Airways Visa Signature® Card

Aer Lingus is an airline partner with British Airways, which means you can redeem British Airways Avios points for an Aer Lingus award flight to Dublin.

And British Airways is a transfer partner of 3 of the 4 major flexible points programs:

Best Travel Deals 2017

Redeem British Airways Avios Points for an Aer Lingus Award Flight to Dublin!

Aer Lingus uses a distance based award chart.  You can book round-trip award flights to Dublin from these 6 cities for 26,000 British Airways Avios points in coach during the off-season:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Hartford
  • Newark
  • New York (JFK)
  • Washington, DC

Off-peak times include almost 8 months out of the year.  And during peak travel times, you’ll pay 40,000 British Airways Avios points for a round-trip flight.  This is still a great travel deal because United Airlines charged 60,000 miles for a similar award flight.

You can read my step-by-step guide to finding available Aer Lingus award seats and booking these flights!

Bottom Line

For folks looking to get Big Travel with Small Money in 2017, there are lots of excellent travel deals!

Some top deals carried over from my list from last year, like the Southwest Companion Pass!  But others are new like:

What’s your favorite travel deal?

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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15 responses to “The 10 Best Travel Deals in 2017

  1. Question on #6 can my husband apply for the card and transfer points to my SW account?

  2. Can nights and flights be used to get needed Southwest companion pass qualifying points. Has anyone had success doing this to help getting the pass. March 31st hotel points transfer deadline is coming soooon.

  3. Larry, Yes Nights and Flights can be used to get the Southwest Companion Pass. I recently did it. But, you only have until March 31st for the hotel points to count.

  4. Question about the Eithad Airline Idea

    Since you are using United.com to look for flights are you allowed to use United points?

    What are the best cards to get points for that?

  5. Both my wife and I applied and received the Chase Hyatt card (even though we both fall under the 5/24 rule) and have just finished charging the $2000 X 2 ($75 fee doesn’t count). Was wondering if you knew how and when we will be able to use the free nights. I’m planning a trip to Paris and London at the end of April. Thanks for all you do!

    • The 2 free night certificates should post to your account a few days after the statement close date. You can redeem the certificates online or by calling Hyatt. Enjoy your trip to Paris and London!

  6. @ Jim Lambert

    Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, without a question. Order breakfast in the room–you won’t believe the rolling oven that they bring up! They gave us 50% off breakfast (I guess they do that anyway?), but it still was more than we normally pay! But worth it. Open your Hyatt account on line using your membership number. You can book the award stays on line, or call them.
    Misc.
    If you wind up in Paris in August– not necessarily recommended– go to non-tourist restaurants. The locals are mostly on vacation, and you’ll have a quiet, friendly meal.
    If you take the train into town –recommended–when exiting the station pass the fixed-price limos until you find the Meter Taxis.

  7. Another question on the Eithad airline, does the Citi American Airline cards count that you can transfer?

  8. Great blog post! Thanks for the reminder of some of the other deals I missed. Your website is much simpler to understand than some other big names.